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  1. #1
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    quote:
    Hello,

    I hope all is well! I really appreciate the time and effort that you put into our partnership. I value our partnership and it’s my goal to make all of our marketing partnerships win-win situations. I think that a lot of affiliate managers in the industry are not willing to go out of their way to improve their affiliate partnerships. 1-800 CONTACTS has the goal of ensuring that each affiliate partnership is treated fairly.

    Unfortunately our program is suffering because of the low conversions which we are experiencing with your specific referrals. We have found that EPC has a lot of inherent benefits. When our EPC is low, we receive fewer applications and less support from existing partners. It is for this reason that we need to take immediate action to remedy the situation.

    This gives us 2 options:

    1- Improve the quality of our traffic that we are receiving from your sites. I would ask you to take a look at the areas which you are advertising 1-800 CONTACTS. We need to optimize our partnership so that we are focusing on quality, rather than quantity. I think that once we get our partnership EPC to acceptable levels, then we can begin refocusing on scalability.
    2- If you feel that we will be unable to improve our EPC, then it may be best to dissolve our partnership. This is obviously not our favorite option, but we respect your decision. You know your site better than we do. If you feel that we will not be unable to improve our EPC, then please let me know. We are both aware of the value of time and energy when it comes to running a successful affiliate program.

    Please contact me immediately by either email or phone to discuss this. I need to know our plan.

    Thanks!

    Josh Aston
    1-800 CONTACTS
    (801) 924-9878
    jaston@1800contacts.com



    Gosh Josh,

    For being one of those rare affiliate managers striving to inprove our relationship, this is the only e-mail I've gotton from you over the last 2 years.

    Did you send me this because I recently replaced your links with your competition?

    Did you want me to tell you the fact that your competition is reporting sales, whereas you stopped doing that kind of thing?

  2. #2
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    Well kelly626, at least the note he wrote was nice.

    I can't comment on 1-880-Contacts, as I've never had a relationship with them. Perhaps they're trying to determine why they didn't convert well for you. They did just recently drop a parasite, which certainly could have had an effect on your conversions.

    I'm not disagreeing with you, but I do think the note was nicely worded and I'm left with the overall impression that Josh wants to know how he can help you, or if you have any ideas as to why you didn't earn more commissions.

    Andy

    _______________
    "If you were born to be shot, you'll never be hung." -Unknown

  3. #3
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    Josh can help me by being quiet.

    I've never had a merchant e-mail that wasn't "nicely worded".

    There was a thread here recently where affiliates were complaining about no sales for them in a quite while.

    So, they recently dropped a parasite? Down at AA they've recently stopped drinking.

    They're upset because VisionDirect is gaining on their ass recently in EPC? Who knows, who cares.

    So, if I were respond to his letter, it would go something like this:

    Josh,

    Here's how we can improve our relationship.

    I'll start off by saying you need to change your site abit. Ummm, that Free Shipping Offer, what page did you put that on? Shouldn't it be staring my visitors in the eye when your site first downloads?

    Your competition has "how great a deal a visitor is going to get" plastered all over the front page.

    Or could the recent jump in VisionDirect EPC have something to do with you driving your affiliates to them? I went elsewhere and am seeing reported sales for your competition. Can we work on a way to figure out why that is?

    I promoted you exclusively for two years, and in recent months...and I speak on behalf of others who attend the ABW forums...sales are NOT being reported as they should be.

  4. #4
    ABW Ambassador Andy's Avatar
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    kelly626 wrote:
    quote:
    I've never had a merchant e-mail that wasn't "nicely worded".


    Well if you spend some time looking around ABW, you'll see a few messages from AMs that weren't "nicely worded."



    Andy

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    "If you were born to be shot, you'll never be hung." -Unknown

  5. #5
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    "Nicely worded" has multiple meanings...I hear ya.

  6. #6
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    My .02. He is being forthright, nothing wrong with being straight up with your partners.

    I think dropping low EPC affiliates is ultimately a good move for a program in general. One affiliate (not saying you Kelly) can severely damage one's aggregate EPC rating and affect a whole program.

    The higher EPC one maintains the better and higher volume of partners come to a program. It is much easier to pitch a deal to a big partner when you can verify the numbers and volume.

    At the same time the higher a network EPC goes there are more low-conversion partners come in to drive it back down. On a network lke CJ it takes real work to maintain an acceptable EPC and requires alot of vigiliance, you have to guard it and nuture it.

    In many ways this is a a good thing, it doesn't allow merchants to make false claims like "we payout tens of thousands a month" when their volume ranking is 1 bar, makes them manage their program actively and forces them to be more selective with their partnerships. Of course it can be a real pain at times, and managers shouldn't "over manage EPC". It is a useful guide, but not the law.

    regards,
    Wayne

    Wayne Porter
    V.P. Product Development
    AffTrack LLC.
    http://www.afftrack.com
    http://www.revtrends.com
    Get a free two-week trial use code ABWEB at RevTrends.com

  7. #7
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    Thanks Wayne for explaining EPC, and all that stuff.

    Believe me, I'm not crying over this situation, or take this personally whatsoever.

    I was scoring regular sales with this merchant for quite awhile, and all of a sudden in recent months, nothing.

    The beauty of these forums is that you get to see that you're not alone when a merchant just dead cold stops reporting sales.

    Like Josh said, I know my site better than anyone. Yes I do...always have, and I know their competition is panning out at the present.

    Another merchant just recently dead cold stopped reporting. I was scoring sales for this merchant everyday....then nothing. I put up the competition, and bingo...immediately have multiple sales on a daily basis once again.

    One merchant, after having stopped reporting sales for 3 weeks, e-mailed and said how I was one of their best affiliates. No coincidence, they knew what they were doing. Their asses came down that day and I am one of their competition's best affiliates now.

    Don't underestimate us little guys that make a measely 5 figures a month. Our goals are much higher for the future...and if you're a crooked merchant...you'll get paid back.

  8. #8
    Millionaire on training wheels Justdoit's Avatar
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    Well said Kelly, us little guys remember lots of things, and rarely forget them on the way up.

    The greatest oak was once a little nut who held its ground

  9. #9
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    "For being one of those rare affiliate managers striving to inprove our relationship, this is the only e-mail I've gotton from you over the last 2 years."

    Hmm, i always get emails from them, about upcoming promotions and such.

    "I speak on behalf of others who attend the ABW forums...sales are NOT being reported as they should be."

    You speak for yourself, not me, sales are fine on my end.

    As far as the email you got, i don't necessarily agree with it. If you properly represent the merchant on your site and any info about the merchant on your site (up to date promo info, working coupon code etc.) is correct and the merchant isn't converting, thats more on the merchant. Our job is to deliver our site visitor to the merchant. Once the visitor is on the merchant site, its up to the merchants site for conversions, provided we sent someone to the merchant with accurate info.

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway

  10. #10
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    Of course I wasn't speaking for you Trust1.

    I'm speaking of a recent 1-800-contacts thread.

    Surmise all you want about how I must of been neglecting my duties...that's fine...I understand.

    The bottom line...again...is that I received that e-mail after I canned them, not before.

    Contacts never was a real focus of mine, but they do sell if you put them out there...with the right merchant that is.

    If they are your right merchant, that's great.

  11. #11
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    "Surmise all you want about how I must of been neglecting my duties...that's fine...I understand."

    Relax, i wasn't saying that. I agree with you on the email you received, i disagree with you when you said "I speak on behalf of others who attend the ABW forums...sales are NOT being reported as they should be."

    I get sales, so you speak for yourself not on behalf of others. Vision Direct converts nicely too as well as LensMart

    "Nothing focuses the mind better than the constant sight of a competitor who wants to wipe you off the map."
    --Wayne Calloway

  12. #12
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    yea, I've notice the others converting.

    A merchant isn't obviously going to screw over all their affiliates ...well, not at one time anyway. That wouldn't work well for EPC for sure.

    If they wrongly sized me up, it's not the first time a merchant did that.

    I just e-mailed them and told them I wish no further "contacts"...that I will not be able to improve the quality of my traffic, and I therefore must move on.

    Next time you complain about a merchant...if perhaps they are doing well for me...I'll return the favor. Just kidding

  13. #13
    ABW Ambassador Joey's Avatar
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    Just a quick thought...

    Parhaps rather than completely dropping low-epc affiliates, merchants should be giving them the alternative of joining an in-house program. This way they can keep their CJ numbers high while keeping the low-epc affiliates.

    Ah, the wonders of EPC.

  14. #14
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    You want to know what is absolutely incredible?

    Do a Google search for the following: "1800contacts.+com"

    If they want to pay all those affiliates that simply crammed the 1800contacts name into a title, that's their business.

    Plus, some of the sites upon entering open up a pop-up with the CJ link to them in it. How's that affect EPC when you do that?

    My traffic is merely looking for contacts lenses, and may not know about 1800contacts...therefore my traffic wouldn't convert as well as sites who have visitors already looking for the 1800contacts site...and find an affiliate site because the 1800contacts name was crammed everywhere imaginable.

    Josh, come here and explain if that example is something you would want me to do to improve our relationship.

  15. #15
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    quote:
    Originally posted by Wayne Porter- AffTrack:
    I think dropping low EPC affiliates is ultimately a good move for a program in general. One affiliate (not saying you Kelly) can severely damage one's aggregate EPC rating and affect a whole program.



    It's a tough balance between trying to maintain a good EPC and let every affiliate into your program.

    CJ's open reporting is a double edged sword. Reporting EPC helps affiliates evaluate a program. EPC also helps merchants identify underperforming affiliates.

    Unfortunately, to maintain a good EPC, a merchant will sometimes have to end a relationship. Of course, if a program isn't converting, the affiliate should want to try something different.

    BTW, Josh's letter was professional and courteous. It was not a "nastygram" or threat letter. Kelly - At least he wrote to you rather than simply expiring your program without notice. I've had that happen to me on my affiliate sites, and it's worse than the letter you received.

    Scott Marino
    WebUndies.com

    CJ ~ 12% commission / 60 day cookies / unlimited actions / parasite free

  16. #16
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    The letter you received is far better than a couple recent CJ ones here

    We regret to inform you that the Commission Junction advertiser (merchant X) has chosen to expire its affiliation with you effective 17-Jun-2003.

    If you would like to locate another advertiser in the network to partner with, login to your Account Manager (http://www.cj.com/login.jsp) and visit the Get Links tab.

    ...............
    WW

    Make a difference! Support your local Cancer Care providers.

  17. #17
    Resident Genius and Staunch Capitalist Leader's Avatar
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    quote:
    Plus, some of the sites upon entering open up a pop-up with the CJ link to them in it. How's that affect EPC when you do that?


    Short answer--it doesn't.

    In more detail,
    A regular pop-up, with a LINK--as opposed to popping the actual merchant site--in it, shouldn't affect EPC any differently than any other link. The only time the EPC gets wrecked from pops is when the *merchant site itself* (instead of an ad for the merchant site) is opened in the pop. Auto-opening of the site itself causes a "100% CTR" and lots of dud "clicks" that wouldn't ordinarily happen. Regular pops with tracking links work like any other aff. links--EPC is only affected if someone actually clicks.

    A lot of merchants encourage using regular-style pops for them, by providing creatives specifically labeled "popup" in typical pop-up sizes.

    ~Revenue is King

  18. #18
    2005 Linkshare Golden Link Award Winner  ecomcity's Avatar
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    Well Josh at 1-800-contacts should have absolutely no problem maintaining 1 sale per 100 click throughs from any affiliate. If he is not reporting that kind of conversion ratio on a niche' product from a trusted fulfillment service like 1-800-contacts then his reporting sales tags are defective or on a on/off switch.

    Quick summary ...no one clicks on a 1-800-contacts banner who isn't a contact wearer. Some of my niche' product clients like www.suspenders.com convert at a steady 1 sale per 20 visitors year after year.

    Mike & Charlie ...

    If they won't adopt and feed a bird ..flip them one! BBQ some Gator and remember to flush WhenU..

  19. #19
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    quote:
    A regular pop-up, with a LINK--as opposed to popping the actual merchant site--in it, shouldn't affect EPC any differently than any other link.


    I meant the actual site in effect was popping...it was just as though I clicked the CJ link, but I didn't.

    Starting with a clear cookie folder I noticed both qksrv and commission-junction cookies were set after the pop-up.

    The pop-up page has a meta refresh to 1800contacts coupled with a javascript script that commands the affiliates CJ link... to insure that CJ cookies are set.

    Very clever.

  20. #20
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    Take the top EPC link for 1800contacts, and the top EPC link for VisionDirect...both text links of course.

    Search for the specific text links in Google to see how many affiliate pages include each. Use quotations in the search.

    1800contacts: search for "with 1-800 CONTACTS you'll find a company that" 1,280 pages found in Google

    VisionDirect: search for "Contact Lenses Shop in US Dollars Save up to 70%" 18,200 pages found in Google

    Maybe the fact that VisionDirect now has so many more CJ links (over 14 times more in this example) to them than do 1800Contacts...would this have something to do with VisionDirect's rising EPC?

  21. #21
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    Only if the traffic is converting!

    Actually, the amount of CJ links in and of itself means nothing to the EPC. It's how well the traffic converts that makes the difference.

    Much more telling, when it comes to overall program success (from a merchant standpoint), is how many Bars the merchant has--which shows how much money overall is flowing through their gates.

    A high EPC program with only One Bar is a great sign of a tiny program with maybe one bad*ss affiliate who can convert well (and nobody sending piles of dud traffic to dilute it). If a place gets 100 hits/month, and 5% of those buy--they will have a great EPC! They also probably have less than $100 profit!! (Programs with those characteristics don't tend to last too long, leading me to believe they're losing money under those circumstances.)

    On the other hand, a place can be like Catalog City and have 5 Bars--but an EPC that stinks!! This shows a program with a massive number of affiliates and lots of aff-driven traffic--but they have a hard time converting that traffic into buyers (hence the lousy EPC).

    ~Revenue is King

    [This message was edited by Leader on June 26, 2003 at 08:13 AM.]

  22. #22
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    True, the number of CJ links in and of themselves means nothing to EPC. There additionally must be clickthroughs accounted, and of course the element of time.

    The burden to sustain a high 7 day EPC normally becomes greater the more click throughs... where quantity is as it were time.

    EPC is based in time, and a 3 month EPC is usually more accurate than a 7 day EPC...except in those instances where merchants just recently have started snow balling in one direction or another, due to recent improvements, or short comings.

    Take a 7 day EPC based on 200 clicks, and a 7 day EPC based on 2,570 clicks... 2,570 clicks in 7 days roughly equal to 200 clicks every 7 days extended to 3 months.

    Which would normally be more accurate, aside from those exceptional instances mentioned?

    I would choose the 7 day EPC based on the larger amount of clicks.

    If VisionDirect is at the 7 day EPC finish line along side 1800Contacts...and it were that VisionDirect has many more clickthroughs in the time frame, then I choose VisionDirect as the winner.

  23. #23
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    For the 7-day, maybe...

    But a look at their Trend Graphs shows that VisionDirect has an unbroken downward trend in EPC, while 1-800-Contacts has a more normal, varying, trend graph--which is on the rise for the last couple of months.

    When I see a trend graph trending down as if it's trying to imitate a "hill braking required" sign--I smell a rat.

    I'd say Vis. Dir.'s 7-day EPC is either an anomoly or they're going to "unsell" a lot of those sales before the 3 months is up. How else would they have such a lousy trend over the life of their program? It hasn't gotten better for even one month!

    Something is definitely wrong with that picture. They should have had at least *some* good months.

    quote:
    If VisionDirect is at the 7 day EPC finish line along side 1800Contacts...and it were that VisionDirect has many more clickthroughs in the time frame


    Based on what I see in the trend graph--if it were a horse race, I'd say some steroids (or similar drugs) have been injected into that nag.

    ~Revenue is King

  24. #24
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    Leader,

    Come on, it's June. 1800Contacts' graph shows rather sharp declines after the holidays. Look where they were before the holidays...like in July.

    Anyway, tell Josh this stuff. He's the one paranoid that DirectVision is gaining on him.

    Do what the others are doing...slap a DirectVision link next to 1800Contacts and tell your visitor which one has the lower price.

  25. #25
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    VisionDirect...please accept my appologies, I called you DirectVision. I'm sorry.

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